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In your company FC, are you a midfielder, striker or wunderkind? ORIGINAL IMAGE: 123RF

Your Workplace Is A Lot Like A Football Club - Here's Why

Football is the world’s game and based on the 3am cheering every World Cup season, it’s also Singapore’s game. And just like professional footballers, most of us are also paid to do a job – albeit at a lower wage, but you get what I mean. They too, have managers, HR teams, and CEOs, just like those of us in the corporate world.

But have you ever thought about how much a company is just like a football club?

The Fans: Finance & Accounting

"The fans pay your wages" is a common saying in the football world. In a way, yes, fans do indirectly contribute to a football player’s wages – the same way a finance team indirectly contributes to your wages by handling payroll.

They can also be toxic fans sometimes – those who only support the team when they’re winning (revenue-generating, in a corporate context). *Ahem*, where are all my Manchester United fans at?

The Manager: Human Resources

When morale is low, a football club’s manager is usually responsible for boosting the team’s spirits with an inspiring half-time speech. Managers and their coaching staff also lead training sessions with the players and often dictate days off, nutrition, and other "welfare" for the players.

On top of that, the manager also plays a big part in recruitment and selection when it comes to buying players from other clubs or selling off current players.

Hmmm, doesn’t that sound a lot like your HR team? I mean, apart from yelling at the 4th official, everything else checks out to me.

Goalkeeper: The CEO

Goalkeepers are often the most criticised position in football. They are praised when they make acrobatic saves but are ridiculed when they make mistakes leading to goals. There’s even a goalkeeper’s union where goalkeepers support other goalkeepers.

Just like the CEO of a company, big or small, goalkeepers are the first name on the team sheet. When a CEO makes a mistake, it’s often the most visible to the public, much like how a goalkeeper’s error often leads directly to a goal. They are also the last line of defence – the last layer of approval before anything goes out.

Defender: Middle Management

Defenders are a special breed. They put their bodies on the line to protect their goal, and essentially, their goalkeeper. And if they don’t do their jobs, guess who is going to yell at them?

Sound familiar? Middle managers are also constantly being "talked to" if they perform poorly, usually by their CEO. Just like goalkeepers yelling at defenders whenever they make a save, and the ball goes out for a corner.

Midfielder: Executives

When you think of a midfielder, you think of someone who passes the ball a ton, someone who also often runs up and down the field, and sometimes, someone who does the dirty work. There are different types of midfielders in football, and there are also different types of executives in a company.

There are those who "pass" the work on to their colleagues, those who are constantly "running" around, and those who are always doing the dirty work that no one else wants to. And then there are those who do it all – like my guy Roy Kent from Ted Lasso.

Striker: Creatives, Designers, Operations, Service

Strikers score goals – that’s the end product of the whole game of football. Whoever scores more goals wins. Similarly, in a company, whoever delivers the end product is like a striker.

In a creative agency, the strikers are the creatives, designers, or photographers who create content for their clients. In a restaurant chain, the strikers are the operations staff who serve the "end product". In healthcare, the goal scorers are the nurses and doctors on the front line saving lives.

Like strikers who score goals, this group of people also receive the most praise for their work, and are usually celebrated by the "fans". Haven’t seen any knee slides from the service staff in restaurants, though.

Bonus – Flashy winger: The annoying guy who doesn’t do any work but takes all the credit

We all have that guy in our lives. The winger who dribbles with the ball forever, step over after step over, refusing to cross the ball to the open striker in the box, only to lose the ball for a goal kick. And then scores a tap-in later on, and celebrates like it was a bicycle kick. I think this juxtaposition speaks for itself.

Bonus – Wunderkind: The amazing intern

There’s always that intern fresh out of poly that has amazing work ethic, street smarts, and sometimes, just straight-up talent. They’ll get you thinking that an 18-year-old kid could probably replace you in your role. That’s probably what every English midfielder thinks about Jude Bellingham.

Like the wonderkids of the footballing world, these kids are going to grow up to become successful people who contribute to their companies.

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